I’ve written The Paula Principle: how and why women work below their level of competence (to be published by Scribe in March 2017). Why? Happenstance really: I knew that girls and women do better than boys and men educationally. I then discovered that women go on adding to their competences more than men do, taking part more in adult education generally but also in training at work. I have two daughters, who have done well, and certainly better than most of their male contemporaries. But will they (meaning women generally, as well as my daughters) see this greater competence reflected in their careers?
So the PP fits with my lifelong interest in lifelong learning: how and why adults do and don’t learn – and what the benefits are to them. I’ve worked on and in this field for decades, as an academic, international thinktanker and policy researcher. My most recent post was as director of the independent Inquiry into the Future for LifelongLearning, sponsored by the UK’s National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education. I co-authored the Inquiry’s main report, Learning Through Life, and that’s probably my best go at saying what I have to say on how we might get a new distribution of learning opportunities – until I get round to writing the book I plan on the lifecourse (working title The Triple Helix).
From 2003-2008 I was Head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) at OECD, the Paris-based international think tank, with responsibility for CERI’s projects relating to some 30 countries. Before that, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Professor of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck, University of London; and co-director of the Research Centre on the Wider Benefits of Learning. I’m currently a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck (London) and the Institute of Education.
I take pride and pleasure in chairing the Governing Board of the Working Men’s College in London, Europe’s oldest adult education institute.
I’m a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and London, and have a Dr Phil from the University of Bremen. There are some 15 books out there on a range of topics, from social capital to industrial democracy. I occasionally play the clarinet; gigging for the South London Jazz Orchestra is a new pleasure in life – and a learning challenge.